Dr. David Lipscomb has prepared two video tutorials aimed at helping students improve their writing. The first video addresses Fluid Writing, or how we can guide our readers logically from one sentence or paragraph to the next. The second video addresses Clear Writing, or how we can make our prose concise and engaging.
Case Study (referenced near the end of this video): Edit the scientific passage below so that it flows for a typical college reader (a non-science major). Use our editing question—Do you guide your reader from familiar to any unfamiliar material?— to diagnose any points in this passage that do not flow. When you identify a break in the flow, find a concept that would be familiar to your reader (either because you can expect the reader to know it or because it’s already been introduced in this passage) and use it to guide your reader to any new or likely unfamiliar material. Each sentence in your final version should flow from familiar material to anything unfamiliar.
Anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand mitochondria, which power all of a cell’s molecular machinery, are contained in each cell of the body. And a large collection of rotary motors is contained in every one of those mitochondria. A long series of actions and chemical reactions make those rotary motors spin around and around in every living cell of your body like zillions of turbines, windmill vanes, or airplane propellers, a series that is set off with every breath you take. Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, an energy-rich molecule, is a concentrated energy food turned out by these rotary motors. All the rest of the machines go as the result of ATP, more so than any other molecule in the cellular inventory.
Edit this essay opening (referenced at the end of this video) so that it will be clear to a typical college reader:
In recent discussions about the recession and government austerity measures in Greece, a controversial issue has been whether young Greeks capable of leaving their country in search for a better life should emigrate or not.
Looking for more? Check out the Georgetown Writing Center’s collection of resources for writers.